Several survivors of Sunday’s deadly shooting spree in Jacksonville, Florida are launching a probable negligence lawsuit against the venue which hosted a virtual sports event.
The gunman who opened fire inside of an ‘e-sports’ bar at Jacksonville Landing mall injured 11 people and killed two others. Attorney Matt Morgan, of Morgan & Morgan, told reporters on Tuesday that his firm is on retainer for several of the victims.
“Unfortunately, this country has watched this unfold too often in the past,” Morgan said. “This is not the time in America for bare-bones security or, even worse, no security at all.”
Morgan says the mall should have had better, more stringent security measures in place.
“Business as usual on the security front will no longer be tolerated by Americans,” Morgan said. “We must demand more from business owners. It’s time for business owners and event organizers to step up their game.”
The Huffington Post reports that gun violence isn’t uncommon in the area around Jacksonville Landing. Morgan & Morgan’s local branch is located across the street from the mall and has been shot at within the last two months.
“It is foreseeable that shootings could occur at this location,” Morgan said. “eSports are big business. This is the type of event that has to have the highest level of security.”
While the gunman is believed to have intentionally targeted fellow gaming enthusiasts, e-sports events have not regularly devolved into violence.
Morgan, writes USA Today, declined to name his defendants or the suit’s potential targets. The ‘e-sports’ bar occupied space in the back of a Chicago Pizza restaurant. Both the bar and restaurant fall within the Jacksonville Landing complex, which is situated on a parcel of waterfront owned by the city.
“The safety of all Americans must always come before profits,” Morgan said. “It must always be people over profits.”
Morgan’s rhetoric seems strangely applicable to many of the United States’ contemporary policy conundrums. Any push for more militarized security at public establishments is likely to encounter skepticism from the left.
Proposals to arm schoolteachers in Florida in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting last February were firmly rejected by state legislators and local districts.
Employees at stores close to Chicago Pizza broached the subject of politics, speculating that the latest incident would be forgotten as quickly as the last.
“How does a young man treated for mental health get a gun?” asked Tom Horton, owner of nearby 904 Apparel. “We’ll all get talking, but there will be no action. It will all die down in three months […] Somehow we have to get back to the value of life.”
The 24-year old shooter, David Katz, purportedly took anti-psychotic medications used in the treatment of schizophrenia—a claim his father has so far denied. As a youth, he was twice institutionalized for mental health problems.
None of Katz’s recorded institutionalizations prevented him from legally obtaining a firearm.